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HOW WE CHOOSE OUR FARMS AND FOOD
Local, Small, Family FarmsWe source entirely from smaller, family farms within 150 miles of our distribution warehouse which is located in Ann Arbor, MI. We don't just limit ourselves to Michigan. We are also able to find good farms in northeast Indiana and in northern Ohio.
Organic, Eco, NaturalBasically, we want to support and establish supply relationships with farms that are sustainable in their operations. The word, "sustainable", is not a set definition and could mean different things to different people. For us, it is not a set definition either. It could mean certified Organic, and we like that, but few smaller farms can afford the cost, both in dollars and time, to become certified as Organic.
However, our farms generally tend to be on the Organic or "Eco" or "Natural" side of the spectrum. We seek out farmers that have respect for the soil, plants, and animals on their farms. We are interested in farmers who want to sustain the life forces on the farms for future generations rather than farmers who more aggressively "mine" and extract as much as possible.
We avoid farmers who administer growth hormones and use antibiotics in any way, other than to save a sick animal.
GeneticsMany of our farmers choose to grow heritage animal breeds in the interest of sustaining genetic diversity in farming, farming for quality rather than quantity. So we look for the "non-conventional" animal varieties when that makes sense.
GMOs... is hot topic these days. We choose to support, as much as possible, farmers who don't raise GMO crops and don't feed their animals GMOS crops either. That can be a tough row to hoe for a small farmer who has to find feed nearby and quickly at times, so we won't tell you that we avoid GMOs 100%, but we do a pretty good job. And we can pretty much tell you if and how much GMO crop is involved from any farm and its feeds.
HumaneWe take an "up close and personal" look at the farms we establish relationships with and always look for humane treatment of the animals. This includes the food and water availability for the animals, including the freshness, available pasture, available shelter, and cleanliness of their facilities.